For the past 10 years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend Schlafly’s Cabin Fever beer festival. It’s so nice to have something to look forward to the get me through the dreary winter months. No matter what the weather, it’s nice to get together with fellow beer enthusiasts to sample Schlafly’s finest wares. With 40 different beers, live music and food, it’s hard not to have a good time. This year’s festival took place at the Bottleworks in Maplewood this past Saturday.
In years past, Cabin Fever used to focus on Schlafly’s big, boozy beers like imperial stouts, barleywines and strong ales that went perfectly with long, cold nights. Now, they’ve opened up the lineup to include everything from a Clementine Lager and Blackberry Cider to a Pineapple IPA.
Don’t worry if you’re a fan of those big beers, though, because they still feature some of their higher gravity brews like their Barrel Aged Imperial Stout and Pumpkin Ale as specialty tappings. While I love the diverse lineup and having a smorgasbord of choices, I kind of missed being able to try four different variants of Schlafly’s imperial stout. Oh well. First world beer nerd problems.
As always, I studied the beer list carefully and made my choices. Here are the beers that were the highlight of my Cabin Fever experience:
Blueberry Coffee Stout (5.7% ABV, 30 IBU) Great blueberry flavors that compliment the coffee and roastiness of the stout. If you missed out on trying this at Cabin Fever, this is also available in Schlafly’s Stout Bout variety 12 pack.
Pineapple IPA (6% ABV, 40 IBU) Sometimes fruit IPA’s are too unbalanced one way or the other, but this had just the right amount of pineapple while still letting the base IPA shine. Sweet and refreshing, this would be perfect for the summer months.
Salted Caramel Stout (6.5% ABV, 30 IBU) If you’re looking for a good dessert beer, this is it. Creamy caramel and a light hint of salt at the end make this stout a sweet treat. This beer is also available in the Stout Bout variety 12 pack.
Northeast IPA The Northeast style IPA has skyrocketed in popularity due to their intensely juicy tropical fruit flavors with a very low hop bitterness, making them devilishly drinkable. Schlafly’s version of the style is definitely juicy, with a nice smoothness and a good depth of flavor. Look for this in six packs as part of their Hop Allocation series.
Pumpkin Stout (6.8% ABV, 20 IBU) Before I left I had to make sure I got a pour of the pumpkin stout. This beer is the perfect marriage of Schlafly’s fantastic pumpkin ale and a rich stout, with the perfect amount of spices thrown in. A winner any time of the year.
Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale (9.5% ABV) Great barrel flavors, complex yet insanely drinkable and delicious. The perfect amount of pumpkin and spice. Simply magnificent.
All in all, this was a very well run event. Beer lines were relatively short and the crowd seemed to be in good spirits. My only suggestion for next year would be to add some water stations, as keeping hydrated is one of the keys to a good beer festival experience. Thanks to everyone at Schlafly and all of the hard working volunteers that kept the beer flowing. I’m already looking forward to next year.